Thursday, June 21, 2012

Flipping over being Flipped

  I spent the last two days in the windy city, taking in "FlipCon2012".  The purpose of this event was really to put teachers together from across the country who are changing the way they conduct their classrooms using technology through video, audio and even pictures.  "Flipping your Classroom" is something that is catching on across the education world.  See a definition here.
I met teachers from both coasts, down south and even Minnesota.  Here are a few of the things I grabbed from my notes during the different sessions that were AHA moments for me. The above picture is our group getting a tour of the venue.  It is a college for media arts in downtown Chicago. An Amazing place with some cool artwork.
1. Flipping assignments does NOT happen for every single thing!  Some things that you teach are better done without video or the use of technology.
2. Not all students are going to gravitate to this process, especially if they haven't been exposed to using technology for learning.  Flipping is a strategy, not a magic bullet for learning.
3. There are teachers that I have worked with throughout this last school year who were "flipping" but didn't' know it.  Just by using things like voicethread, voki and doing screen captures with their workspace software and posting to their wiki's.
4. Training activities that you might do in your class, that take up time are a great way to get started flipping! Things like lab procedures, teaching behaviors during an activity, steps in a process.
5. Lecturing on video is NOT flipping your classroom.  You will frustrate students if you make them sit through a 20 min. lecture video and expect them to retain it.
6. Video creation and editing is NOT the hardest part of flipping your classroom.  The hardest part is deciding what to put on video and building the activities for class time.
7. Flipping your classroom with good formative assessment will create a rich-differentiated environment.  By putting some of your instruction into video and out side of the classroom walls, you have time to give students some individualized attention.

RESOURCES that I learned about while I was at "flipcon2012"
  1. - This was the keynote speaker.  Great teacher and a leader in flipping your classroom.  Brian is a science teacher and has been doing this for about 5 years.  He did an excellent session on nuts and bolts, how to get started that was very informative.
  2. The Flipped Classroom - Book! Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams and their nuts and bolts approach to putting together the flipped classroom.
  3. - was one of the sponsors at the conference and they captured almost all sessions and posted to this website.  Some excellent resources here for those who want to start flipping.
  4.  You may have heard of the JING software for screen capture, which is built into the Workspace software that we use with einstruction whiteboards and mobis.  The Camtasia is everything that you've wanted Windows movie maker to ever be.  So intuitive and versatile.  Great tutorials on this site, too!
  5.  Get a free account here for sharing your videos to students.  Usually schools don't have this one blocked and creating accounts is free.
  6. This one didn't get good reactions from the teachers I was with.  IT's basically a place to create video playlists with resources.  We will be able to this with our new LMS called Canvas, so it works out just fine.
  7.  I heard so very much about this, however, we are not a google district. Teacher's can still use it.  It's just harder for us to support as a district.
  8.  This is a tool that is useful for texting students as a group.  I have many teachers who would be excited about this one.
  9.  great for creating podcasts.  Students/teachers can record audio.
  10. Various others that people have used were also mentioned, like edmodo, moodle, voki, xtranormal, polleverywhere, voicethread, socrative.  None of these were new to me, but using them to flip your classroom is excellent.
I'm encouraging the other teachers that attended to post comments here or send me comments that will share the things that they got out of the conference, too.  Stay tuned!


  1. I am Eric Kilburn, the new Assistant Principal at West High School. As Layne mentioned above, our group consisted of eight very dedicated and hard working teachers throughout the district that are committed to the students in our schools. The conference was also full of the same type of innovative educators that are facing the same problems all over the country: How do we motivate our students? How do we increase student achievement?
    I am very encouraged by the training that we received that the answers are out there and that as a district we are getting closer to them.
    As an administrator my focus was on how to "flip" our development model so that we can learn from the true experts in our schools: The teachers. At West High School we plan to allow our teachers to lead the PD discussions through their Professional Learning Communities and allow them the leeway to carry their instruction to an innovative place without sacrificing the specificity of our district mission: Believe, Achieve, Succeed.
    The Flipped Learning model is more than technology in action, it is a call to action to think a different way about how we reach our students.

  2. Hi, my name is Jamie Bratvold! I am a Math teacher from WEST HIGH School. I was fortunate enough to travel to the windy city as well. As a Math teacher I am stoked to try out this concept in my classroom! Fellow math teachers if you are looking for something new then try these sites out, I know I am looking forward to using them this fall:

    With the Flipped concept in mind, I am excited to see what I can develop for the new found class time since some lectures and lab directions will be done outside of my classroom. One thing I will be trying is having my students develop their own websites. These websites will be geared toward solving business problems while incorporating Algebra and Geometry skills. Three reasons why I like this project: first, my students will get a chance to build their own company and research what problems they may come across while building their personalized company. Second, this could be a way to show the students how the concepts in the book can relate to problems outside the walls of their math class. Last, this project will be cross-curriculum with a fellow English teacher who also attended the flipped conference. We are excited to combine the Math and English Iowa Core Standards and see what things will develop in our classrooms. If you are thinking you would like to try this yourself, I highly recommend going to, here you will find teacher and 9th grade students’ examples for building your own websites with the Iowa Core in mind.

    I am extremely nervous to see how these things payout in my classroom, but at the same time I am excited for the endless possibilities that may developed. Growing up my dad always told me, “Growth happens outside your comfort zone”; I guess it’s time to get uncomfortable:)

  3. What I learned was this concept is still growing. It is a work in progress, but it will work once it is put into place. I did enjoy learning how to produce quality videos on my own. The idea that the student will see and hear me discussing the topic of the lesson is great. I can “teach” at any time or place that is more suitable for the student. I will use this concept of the flipped classroom next year with my honor students first and then work it into my other classes. Thanks Layne for inviting me to attend. TB

  4. I'm the Teacher Librarian at NHS. I attended the conference as well. I take away from the conference the infinite possiblities that flipping (done well) coupled with formative assessment give to the classroom. I also believe that this is the time to re-assess what we are teaching. Is everything in the 20 slide powerpoint needed? What's the essential info kids need to know and what practice can I give them so that they can ask questions and construct knowledge in the classroom?

    As I don't have my own classroom of students, I'll be working with the NHS staff to construct flipped videos of their own (and watch the Learning Commons website for some of my own "searched" flipping.

  5. Sarah Storm
    I teach English at Sioux City North. I attended the conference to find new ways to engage my students. I found many resources via the keynote speaker to help me with formative assessments. I especially liked the student rubrics with standards that allow students to assess themselves and document their own progress. I have been able to modify the rubrics to fit my English IV classes. This also inspired me to seek on-line book clubs for English IV students. For English II, I am going to use flipped videos to teach classroom procedures-to see how they react and to see if the videos are truly a way to reach them.

    I enjoyed meeting new people and traveling with our group. I especially want to thank Layne for allowing me to attend! Happy Summer! Sarah